Compositing – The Businessman – From Drawing to the Film

A cool commercial in the style of forties comic strips promotes the digital signage system Local-Monitor. The particular are the animated panels in the comic page. The following blog shows the creation of the film. From the idea through the compositing to the final film.

Finding Ideas

The detective Philip Marlowe is a fictional character of Raymon Chandler from the forties. In our commercial he plays a problem solver. Instead of a real film, we are presenting Marlowe in a comic style.


The story is developed with a rough storyboard. Suitable to the text 7 camera shot are specifed by the director. Based on the storyboard the graphic artist drew freehand sketches. Those sketches are transferred into Photoshop and then colorized.

In one scene Marlowe sits at the desk smoking, putting up his feet on the table. In the background is a window with blinds. The dramatic shadows are created in Photoshop. The basis is the freehand sketch.

Compositing – Breaking down the Layers

The photoshop drawing is seperated in different layers. The layers are imported into After Effects to create an animation. The layers: Background – window, foreground – desk. The Layers of Marlowe are: Torso, arms, legs and shoes. The blinds at the window and the desk are created with 3D-object layers. With a 3D light the layers are casting a shadow.


In the finished animation smoke is rising. The fingers are moving slightly. The shallow depth of field is creating a filmic look. The virtual camera is animated as well. Like a dolly the camera is moving from the right to the left.


The Comic Book Look

The final Spot begins with the opening of the first page like reading a comic book. The animated compositings are put into the panels. The camera flies over the panels. Speaking bubbles are telling the story of the businessman.


At the end a suitable music is composed and background noise is added. A narrator tells the story:
A businessman has problems with the sales of his business. He tried everything in classic advertising and print. Marlowe realizes the potential of digital signage advertising at public places.

The Final Compositing Video (with english subtitles)


The story was conceived by Dirk Jacobs (3Base). Michael Großmann (UNEM) determined the camera shots, directed it and composed the music. The freehand drawings and the Photoshop files are from Holger Schmidt. The compositing animations are from Helmut Schnock (UNEM). Narrator is Christoph Schwegler.
To the Homepage of the ad agency 3Base.